American Idol: Episode Eleven of Season Nine--The Final 24, Part 1

2/17/2010 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Catherine Fuentes

Finally! The vast pool of "American Idol" contestants is getting narrowed down to its Final 24. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again--my favorite part of this series is when the live competition starts. Sure, the auditions and Hollywood week provide for some humor, but these people have talent and I love seeing them flex their musical muscles.

As the judges divide the remaining contestants into three rooms for the "American Idol" tradition of announcing good or bad news to the entire room at once, clips of several final do-or-die auditions were shown. I felt that for some contestants, as was the case with Andrew Garcia’s excellent rendition of Adele’s “Chasing Pavements” and Casey James’ “Bubbly,” this final audition sealed the deal, but for others, like Hope Johnson, who sounded like Jaime Pressly from "My Name is Earl," this final audition may have hurt a great stint on the show. I felt that out of the contestants who were shown, Jermaine Purifoy, Jermaine Sellers, Siobhan Magnus, Crystal Bowersox and Thaddeus Johnson all gave great auditions, and I’m curious to see how they fare in making it to the Top 24.

For the most part, I felt that the strongest contestants of the show were sorted into Room 1, so I knew out of the three rooms, that one was certainly safe. But the others were a mixed bag. Both room 2 and 3 had contestants who had given both good and weak performances, and contestants who had forgotten the words. Both had contestants I liked since day one, and contestants I either grew to appreciate or grew to dislike over the course of Hollywood week. Ultimately, room 2 with Mary Powers and Hope Johnson got cut.

Unfortunately, the joint celebrations from the contestants in rooms 1 and 3 couldn’t last too long. As soon as the judges delivered the news, they went back to watch tapes of every audition and decide on the Top 24--12 men, 12 women. Seven contestants got good news, and are continuing on to the Top 24 part of the competition, which will begin live next Tuesday, and only two got cut.

My predictions have been nicely spot on, I feel, and for the most part, I was pleased and excited about the seven announced finalists. Michael Lynch, known as Big Mike, who chose to sing in Hollywood week instead of witnessing the birth of his daughter, was the first contestant to make it, and as the judges dutifully noted, his was a unanimous decision. I’ve liked Mike since his very first audition, and while I’m glad to see him continue, I’m hoping the rumors of his disqualification are untrue. One of my favorite females of the competition, Didi Benami, also made it through on an unanimous vote. I was similarly pleased to see Aaron Kelly and Todrick Hall join this talented group of singers.

While she isn’t everyone’s favorite judge, I’ve always had a certain affinity for Kara DioGuardi. We call the same place home, we attended the same college, and most of all, I think she’s unabashedly honest and I find myself agreeing with her more often than not--and more often than any other judge. From Casey James’ first audition, where Simon called him boring, I stood by Kara in my belief that he’s actually really talented. He’s emerged as one of my favorite contestants of the show, and I’m excited to see him in the Top 24.

The two finalists I’m least excited about are Katelyn Epperly and Lee Dewyze. While they’ve given good auditions, I don’t think they’re nearly on the same plane as Michael Lynch and Didi Benami. I felt that Lee’s primary audition, where he sang “Ain’t No Sunshine,” was fabulous, but he stumbled throughout Hollywood week. I’m not sure if I’m surprised by this, or if I think they’re going to be weak in the Top 24--I need to see who else makes it to make that decision, but they aren’t my favorites of the ones already named.

Only two contestants got cut from the competition so far, and I’m not surprised by either one. Despite Shelby Dressel giving the audition of her life with Journey’s “More Than a Feeling,” I had been less than enthused with her auditions up to that point. After her first audition, I felt that she was good, but not anything that was outstanding or great. I didn’t write about her in my notes or on this blog with as much positive emphasis as I did several other contestants. However, I felt that in each subsequent audition, she improved. As she walked away admirably, Simon turned to the other judges saying, “That’s the wrong decision.”

What wasn’t the wrong decision was letting Jessica Furney go. I felt that she improved tremendously from her audition last year, but ultimately, I didn’t feel she stacked up against the others. More importantly, I felt her attitude was a bit too negative to succeed in this show. Mary Powers fell hugely out of favor with her pushy, negative attitude, and Jessica also exhibited some pushy traits throughout. Not willing to take no as a final answer, Jessica chose to battle the judges. I cannot stand when the contestants fight back. The judges made their decisions, it is set in stone, and there is no way any argument a jilted contestant can make would present them in a more favorable light.

After saying “it sounds pathetic to beg up here,” Jessica continued with her irate tirade. It frustrates me hearing someone say their passion and drive are what set them apart, when they are in a room with 46 other people who share that passion and drive, but have the sense to show respect to the judges.

Judging by her outburst, I’m glad to see Jessica Furney go.

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • TwitThis
  • MySpace
  • LinkedIn
  • Live
  • Google
  • Reddit
  • Sphinn
  • Propeller
  • Slashdot
  • Netvibes